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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 14:38 GMT
Blair survives no-confidence vote
Sir Ian Blair
Sir Ian Blair said he was "a man of honour"
Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has won a vote of confidence by members of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

The UK's most senior officer was facing censure after his force was found guilty of health and safety failures following the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

Fifteen members of the MPA supported Sir Ian, seven voted against him and there was one abstention.

After the vote Sir Ian said: "I'm going to go back and get on with my job."

Pleased

He added: "I'm pleased to have the backing of the majority of the police authority. I don't in any way minimise the tragedy that is the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. "

MPA chairman Len Duvall said Sir Ian had the "overwhelming support" of the Police Authority.

I think it was absolutely unbelievable that nobody seemed willing to pay the price for the shooting of an innocent man in Stockwell Tube station
Boris Johnson, Conservative London mayor candidate

He said: "I think it is appropriate he is allowed to get on with his job, which is about learning the lessons of this and making sure it never happens again in London."

Mr Duvall said Sir Ian was not a "lame duck commissioner".

He added that he expected Sir Ian to continue working for the rest of his contract, which continues for another two and a half years.

Despite the vote, the pressure remains on Sir Ian to resign. The Conservative candidate for London mayor, Boris Johnson, said he still thought the commissioner's position was "very difficult".

Speaking on the BBC's World at One he said: "I did say from the very beginning that I thought he should go. I think it was absolutely unbelievable that nobody seemed willing to pay the price for the shooting of an innocent man in Stockwell Tube station."

Mr de Menezes's cousin, Erionaldo da Silva, said: "We believe Ian Blair's position is untenable and we have no confidence in him. We do not believe that this vote resolves the main issues on this case."

He called for an inquest into his cousin's death "as soon as possible".

During the meeting, Sir Ian's supporters argued that the commissioner should be allowed to draw a line under the Stockwell shooting and concentrate on making London safer.

Silence

Sir Ian had sat in virtual silence during the four-hour meeting as members of the police authority argued whether he should keep his job.

One critic said Sir Ian should follow the example of the chairman of HM Revenue and Customs and resign.

But Mr Duvall said the watchdog body risked bringing itself into disrepute by the public and vitriolic attacks on Sir Ian.

He said they were entering "virtually unknown territory" as they met to make their most important decision since the authority was created seven years ago.

If the authority had failed to back Sir Ian, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith would have come under pressure to sack him.



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